According to a new study, preventing Alzheimer's could be as simple as following a 'recipe.'
A team of researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland found that older people who exercise, eat healthy and participate in brain-training activities are less likely to develop memory loss.
The researchers presented their findings Sunday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, where they told the audience there isn't just one thing people can do to prevent memory loss.
However, a combination of those three healthy lifestyle choices seems to do the trick.
WTVA reports: "This is the first time we actually have a recipe, that we can say, 'this recipe works.' You can try to follow this and you should be able to see some results."
NBC reports that the study looked at 1,260 volunteers between the ages of 60 and 77. Researchers gave the participants a memory test once at the beginning of the study and again two years later.
They discovered that those who exercised, changed their diet, made an effort to socialize and participated in memory training did significantly better on that second memory test than those who didn't.
Time quotes one of the study's lead researchers in saying: "These findings show that prevention is possible, and that it may be good to start early. With so many negative trials for Alzheimer's drugs reported lately, it's good that we may have something that everyone can do now to lower their risk."
Exactly how this healthy recipe prevents memory loss is still unclear, but of course eating healthily and exercising are often designated as choices with good outcomes.
The director of science initiatives for the Alzheimer's Association told HealthDay that it might be because people who participate in more mentally stimulating activities have a bigger "cognitive reserve" in their brains to lean on once brain changes related to Alzheimer's set in.
Previous research has shown that exercise in midlife appears to be effective at preventing against dementia later on, as can maintaining a healthy diet.
Though as a writer for Forbes points out, there are still some big questions here that need answering, like what are the long-term results of this recipe -- and will it work as well, for example, in the U.S. as it did in Sweden?
The study's authors say they will continue to follow the participants for seven years to find the answers.
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